How Does Ping Pong Scoring Work

How Does Ping Pong Scoring Work

Last modified: September 27, 2023

Understanding Ping Pong Scoring

Whether you’re a casual player or a competitive enthusiast, understanding the scoring system in ping pong is essential. Ping pong, also known as table tennis, has its own unique scoring rules that add an exciting element to the game. In this article, we will break down the scoring system in ping pong and help you understand how it works.

1. Basic Scoring

The basic scoring system in ping pong is straightforward. Each game is played to 11 points, and players take turns serving after every two points are scored. To win a game, a player must have a minimum of two points more than their opponent. If the score reaches 10-10, it becomes a “deuce” situation. In a deuce, players continue to alternate serves until one player establishes a lead of two points.

2. Serving Rules

Serving is an integral part of ping pong scoring. When serving, the server must throw the ball upwards at least 6 inches, and it must hit their own side of the table first before crossing over to the opponent’s side. The ball should also clear the net without touching it. Players take turns serving, with the server changing after every two points. If a server fails to execute a correct serve twice in a row, they lose a point.

3. Rally Scoring

In some ping pong matches, the rally scoring system is used. Rally scoring means that every point counts towards the score, regardless of who served. In traditional scoring, only the serving player or team can score points. With rally scoring, both players have an opportunity to score on every rally. This system adds an element of excitement and ensures that every point is valuable.

4. Game Formats

Ping pong can be played in various formats, each with its own specific scoring rules. The most common formats include:

  • Singles: In singles, two players compete against each other. The scoring system mentioned above is used.
  • Doubles: In doubles, two teams of two players each compete against each other. The serving and scoring rules are similar to singles, but players alternate serves within their own teams.
  • Team Competition: In team competitions, several players from different teams compete against each other. The format and scoring rules may vary depending on the tournament or league.


Understanding the scoring system in ping pong is essential to enjoy the game and compete effectively. The basic scoring system, serving rules, rally scoring, and various game formats all contribute to the dynamic and fast-paced nature of ping pong. So, whether you’re playing a casual match with friends or participating in a competitive tournament, knowing the ping pong scoring rules will help you stay engaged and strategize your way to victory.

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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